In the tense buildup to the fall elections, both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee set fundraising records in March, respectively collecting $11.4 million and $14 million. Political donations, generally, have been steadily creeping upwards since January 2009, when President Obama took office and Michael Steele became the RNC chairman — but it's interesting to note how fundraising peaks and valleys for each party coincide, significantly or not, with key events along the way. Click-and-slide the tab under the chart to track the parties' respective gains (DNC = blue, RNC = red):


A. Congress passes stimulus package, February 2009
Democrats: Donations rise slightly.
Republican: Donations dip.

B. The emergence of the Tea Party movement, April–June 2009
Democrats: A downward trend halts; donations begin to slowly rise.
Republicans: Donations start to rise sharply.

C. The emotionally charged Town Hall health-care debates, Summer 2009
Democrats: Donations dip after the debates wind up.
Republicans: Donations rise.

D. The gubernatorial elections, in November 2009, generally seen as a blow to the Democrats, who lost two key races.
Democrats: Donations rise in the build-up to the election, then plummet sharply the month after results are announced.
Republicans: Donations plateau.

E. The election of Republican Scott Brown as Senator for Massachussets, January 20, 2010
Democrats: Donations continue an upward trend.
Republicans: RNC donations reach a record high, coincidentally or not.

F. President Obama's health-care reform bill is signed, March 23, 2010
Democrats: Funds continue to rise throughout the fierce debate over the bill and its eventual passing.
Republicans: Republicans also see a growth in donations during this period, suggesting that the health-care reform conflict may have motivated voters on either side of the debate to dig deep.

Source: All figures in this graph were obtained from official records at the Federal Election Commission, with the exception of March 2010 data obtained directly from RNC and DNC. Note: Both parties have a Senatorial Campaign Committee and a National Congressional Committee that also elicit funds, which are not reflected in this graph.)